Monday 31 January 2011

Nama reply sought over rezoning plan

NAMA HAS been asked to comment on a draft local area plan for Bandon, Co Cork, which has zoned land for a further 1,700 houses even though land already zoned for housing – some under Nama’s control – remains to be developed.

Declan Waugh, an environmental engineer and member of Cork County Council’s strategic planning committee, wrote to Nama last week seeking clarification of its interest in lands on the outskirts of Bandon.

“Nama is an asset management company that will hold, manage, develop or enhance loans . . . with the aim of achieving the best possible return for the taxpayer on the loans and any underlying assets,” he said.

Mr Waugh said in considering local area plans, councillors “should take cognisance of development lands owned or in the control of Nama . . . given that the taxpayer through the vehicle of Nama needs to ensure a return on these investments by the State”.

Planning bodies should give priority to having these lands developed or construction completed prior to further zoning so there would be “orderly development”.

He cited the draft local area plan for Bandon, which “seeks to zone additional land for 1,700 houses on top of the already zoned and uncompleted lands where planning remains for 1,500 houses, some of which are now under the control of Nama”.

When Mr Waugh raised this at the strategic planning committee, the response he received was that Nama did not own development lands, but the associated loans. As a result, the council could carry on zoning land, “regardless of market implications”.

In his opinion, “there should be co-operation between State bodies on prioritising the completion of unfinished estates and development of suitable lands already in the control of Nama”.

Mr Waugh has not yet received a reply from Nama.

Irish Times

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